The South Balsam Trail provides a lovely walking, running, cycling and is great for winter activities including snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. About half the trail winds through thick, old-growth forest and open, newly-reforested fields. The other half runs through town streets.
Park at Uxbridge Arena and cross Brock St. to the south sidewalk. At this point you can go either left or right, but my suggestion is to go left (east) towards South Beech St. Continue along Brock St. W. until you reach South Cedar St. Turn right (south) onto South Cedar St. (This is a dead-end road and your first wayfinding post – SB1).
You are now entering the nature part of this trail.
Continue until you get to a retention pond on your left where many birds and other wildlife have made it their homes.
The trail takes you around the retention pond and over a small bridge. At this point you will see other paths off to the left. These are not part of the main trail – stay on the main trail so that you can continue the loop.
Now entering a beautiful forested area. This section of the trail is so welcoming with the way it winds through the trees. Take a moment to just stand and listen to all the activity of wildlife and the presence of these magnificent trees!
History of the Area
Identification plaques on specimen trees will be instructional for walkers or for school field trips. The Collins family bought the land from Dr. Beswick. Perhaps much of the original forest survived because John Collins was very protective of his woods. The Uxbridge Historical Centre has reference to a notice posted in 1840: “Take note – whereas several persons have been in the habit of cutting timber on . . . lot 30 . . . Notice is hereby given that any person trespassing after this notice will be prosecuted according to the Law. I hereby forbid any person cutting or taking away any timber or firewood from the said half lot. John Collins”.
As you come out of the treed area, you will walk across a boardwalk over a wetland section. The trail comes out to Forsythe Drive (SB5). Now back onto sidewalks and part of the paved section of the trail.
Forsythe Drive was named after the family that acquired much of the land in this area around 1915. The large barn visible between the houses along Forsythe Drive dates from that era. Members of the Forsythe family still live in the area, but not on this property. The history of this area goes back to 1805, when the land in this area was granted by the Crown to Dr. Christopher Beswick. He was the first medical doctor north of the Oak Ridges Moraine. He was not a Quaker, but interestingly he lived in Catawissa, Pennsylvania before moving to the Uxbridge area. Catawissa is the town “twinned” with Uxbridge. Beswick Lane is named after him.
At the corner of Forsythe Dr. and South Balsam St. turn left (north)
Continue along South Balsam St. passing by beautiful Beechwood Parkette. (This part of the trail is also home to a section of the Butternut Trail)
At the Corner of South Balsam St. and Brock St. W. turn right (east) and this will take you back to Uxbridge Arena and the start of walk.
Note: This trail connects with two other trails. At Forsythe Dr. (SB5) you will notice a wayfinding post (BN1) for the Butternut trail.
At the corner of South Balsam St. and Brock St. W. connects with Butternut Trail and across Brock St. W on the North side is the Quaker Trail.
Both of these two trails are also loops taking in nature and town sidewalks.
Connection to the Quaker Trail – At the two points marked 8, you can connect with the Quaker Trail, another of the Uxbridge Town Trails. The head of- trail sign describing this 2.5 km. trail is located near the illuminated sign at the entrance to the arena. Or you can connect with the trail by crossing Brock St. at the lights, and then following the Quaker Trail markers
The Uxbridge Town Trail system is a network of trails in the urban area that will also connect to major trails to the south (the Trans-Canada Trail and the Oak Ridges Trail). The Town Trail system is a program of the Township of Uxbridge in association with volunteer groups. Historical information is provided by the Uxbridge Historical Centre.